A LIFE BLESSED: ANNA REILLY II
Acrylic paint, baroque pearls, beads
Collection of the artist, courtesy of Meredith Ward Fine Art, New York, NY
“A woman’s name should appear in the newspaper only three times: at her birth, upon her marriage, and at her death.” This 19th-century maxim underscores the private role most women played in the domestic sphere during the Victorian age. Pat Lasch’s feminist-infused sculptures underscore both the celebratory moments and constraints placed on women, from the 19th century, at the dawn of the women’s rights movement, and today, at a heightened moment of gender awareness.
In her A Blessed Life series, Lasch explores important moments in a woman’s life, including birth, puberty, matrimony, anniversary, and death. Her sculptures, three of which are on view here, are intricately constructed of piped paint, lace, and beading, and function as a kind of self-portrait. They are not purely celebratory, nor are they condemning. Instead, they function as reminders of earlier lives, societal expectations, and even desires for conformity that, though diminished, continue to resonate in the modern consciousness.
Lasch creates her art through a particularly labor-intensive process. As the daughter of both a seamstress and a pastry chef, she has always placed an emphasis on the decorative in her work, even as she makes broader points about changes in society. Lasch is interested in the transitions of life, saying “I want to know what that transition [death] is about. But I’m also interested in union and marriage. The crucial question for me as an artist is, ‘Who am I? Where am I from?’”